NATSAP Principles

The members of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) provide residential, therapeutic and/or education services to children, adolescents and young adults entrusted to them by parents and guardians. The common mission of NATSAP members is to promote the healthy growth, learning, motivation, and personal well-being of program participants. The objective of member therapeutic and educational programs is to provide excellent treatment for program participants; treatment that is rooted in concern for their well-being and growth; respect for them as human beings; and sensitivity to their individual needs and integrity.

From its inception, NATSAP has strived to develop guidelines for ethical principles and principles of good practice. These principles are highlighted below and can be viewed by clicking on the title.

Ethical Principles and Principles of good Practice

As the first order of business, ad hoc committees, comprised of leaders in the industry, were formed to develop guidelines for Ethical Principles and Principles of Good Practice. Many of the accreditation requirements of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations for residential care of adolescents served as a foundation for the development of NATSAP’s Principles of Good Practice.

If you have a complaint about a member of NATSAP, please e-mail The complaint will then be sent to the Best Practices Committee for review. You will be contacted by a member of the Best Practices Committee within two weeks of initially filing your complaint.

Behavior Support Management

In 2003-2004, a committee was formed to develop guidelines for the Behavior Support Management in Therapeutic Schools, Therapeutic Programs and Outdoor Behavioral Health Programs. The Committee created an addendum to the NATSAP Principles of Good Practice that focuses on behavior support management. The Guidelines and Practice of Behavioral Management have been unanimously adopted by the Board of Directors of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs as basic practice standards.

Best Practices in Academics

In May 2004, the Education Committee came together to develop the guidelines which focused on the best practices in the academics of our therapeutic boarding schools.